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Hundreds of Millions Sought for Personalized Medicine Initiative

US President Barack Obama will seek hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the new personalized medicine initiative he announced in his State of the Union address last week, the New York Times reports.

Such a program would bring about "a new era of medicine  —  one that delivers the right treatment at the right time," Obama said in his speech.

According to the Times, this initiative may have broad, bipartisan support. "This is an incredible area of promise," says Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is also a gastroenterologist.

The funds would go to both the National Institutes of Health to support biomedical research and to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate diagnostic tests.

Ralph Snyderman, the former chancellor for health affairs at Duke University, tells the Times that he is excited by the prospect of the initiative. "Personalized medicine has the potential to transform our health care system, which consumes almost $3 trillion a year, 80 percent of it for preventable diseases," Snyderman says.

Though new treatments are expensive, Snyderman says personalized therapies will save money, as they will only be given to people for whom they'll work.